Keeping the Magic Alive at ALA

by Dawn Amsberry

“Energize Your Instruction: Keep the Magic Alive for You and Your Audience,” a program presented at ALA by the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT), was conducted by Andrew Sanderbeck, a professional development speaker, trainer and consultant for libraries and non-profits with the People~Connect Institute.  To set the tone for the program, participants received “magic” bubble wands as they entered the room. Andrew, an energetic and very entertaining speaker, addressed a packed crowd for an hour and a half, intertwining anecdotes from his own life with teaching tips, poetry, personality assessment, and a few hands-on activities.

Throughout the presentation, Andrew emphasized the importance of “energizing yourself” before you try to energize your teaching. He recommended developing a better understanding of oneself as well as one’s students and co-workers by taking The Behavioral Style Evaluation, a personality assessment that categorizes people as Relaters, Socializers, Thinkers, or Directors. Although personally, I was surprised to find myself pegged as a Director (I don’t like to think of myself as a bossy type), I found Andrew’s stories about how different personality types interact in the classroom and workplace to be very instructive.

Andrew also recommended asking for help, taking time for yourself, and remembering why you teach as methods for bringing yourself out of a teaching “rut.” He discussed his own experience of re-energizing his work by taking classes and being a student, instead of always being the teacher. He suggested avoiding workplace burn-out by focusing on the moment, rather than on what went wrong in the past, or how the future might be different.

Many of the ideas presented in the workshop are applicable to other workplace situations, not just to teaching, particularly for those who are feeling “stuck” in the rut of daily routine.  Although the workshop didn’t include any specific teaching techniques for library instruction, participants were likely to leave the program with new ideas for energizing their work.

More information about Andrew Sanderbeck and the People~Connect Institute is available at the People Connect Institute website.